The Freedom of Information Act 1982 ('the Act') gives you a general right of access to documents held by Council. This includes documents created by Council and documents supplied to Council by external organisations or individuals.
You are entitled to seek access to:
- documents about your personal affairs, regardless of the age of the documents
- documents held by a Council, not older than 1 January 1989.
- The term 'document' is broad and includes written documents, whether printed or in electronic form, photographs, letters, maps, film, reports, audio and video recordings.
Making a Freedom of Information request
You can make a request yourself, or you can authorise another person (for example, a solicitor) to make a request on your behalf.
When submitting your request, it is important that you provide an accurate description of the documents you are seeking access to. Requests must be for specific documents or groups of documents, not 'all documents' in a broad category.
It is recommended that you try to identify a time period and state the type of documents you want (such as reports, letters or permits). For example, 'correspondence between X and Y from 1 January to 30 March 2005'. Avoid phrases like 'all documents in relation to' and ‘including but not limited to’.
If the terms of your request are quite broad, it may result in you receiving and being charged for, documents which you did not intend to seek access to.
Your application must:
- Be in writing.
- Clearly describe the documents you are requesting access to.
- Be accompanied by the $29.60 application fee or evidence that you qualify to have the application fee waived (such as a pension card or health care card).
- Provide evidence of your identity (such as driver’s license) if the documents you seek are about your personal affairs.
- Include your written authorisation if a legal firm submits the request on your behalf.
- We recommend you include your contact details (including telephone and email if available) to enable us to contact you promptly if we have any queries about your application.
Please address your written request to:
Compliance Officer Latrobe City Council PO Box 264 MORWELL VIC 3840
Cheques and money orders should be made payable to the Latrobe City Council. Alternatively, the application fee can be paid at the front desk of the Service Centre located at Morwell, Moe, Traralgon or Churchill.
Access charges relate to the costs incurred in granting access to the documents. The charges are made under with the Freedom of Information (access charges) Regulations 2004.
- Application Fee $29.60 from 1 July 2019.
- Search charges – $22.20 per hour or part of an hour.
- Supervision charges – $5.60 up to 15 minutes, 15-30 minutes $11.10 and 45-60 minutes $22.20
- Photocopying charges – 20 cents per black and white A4 page.
Providing access in a form other than photocopying – The reasonable costs incurred by the agency in providing the copy.
Charge for providing written document – The reasonable costs incurred by the agency in providing the written document.
Charge for making a written transcript out of a tape – The reasonable costs incurred by the agency in providing the written transcript.
We will advise you of any charges that may levied as soon as possible.
Once we receive your request, an authorised FOI Officer will review it to make sure that all the necessary information has been included and the documents you are requesting have been clearly identified. If any clarification is required, the FOI Officer will contact you.
Upon receipt of a valid request, Council will:
- Acknowledge receipt of Freedom of Information application.
- Liaise with the relevant work area/s to ascertain the scope of your request.
- Request documents from the relevant work areas.
- Conduct searches of Council’s electronic record management system.
- Review the documents received to ascertain if any additional documents are required.
- Remove irrelevant documents that do not fit within the scope of the request or sections of documents.
- Consider whether any exemptions could prevent the disclosure of the documents.
- Consult with external organisations and/or individuals where applicable.
- Process the relevant documents.
- Compile a determination letter which lists the documents, or parts thereof, which are to be released, documents which could not be located and any exemptions that have been applied.
- How long will it take to process my request? Council has 30 days in which to process a valid request, (but may be extended up to a further 15 days pending on consultation that is required). This commences from when your request is viewed as sufficiently clear for us to process and your application fee has been paid (or sufficient evidence has been provided to waive the fee).
If it becomes apparent that the access charges associated with a request are likely to exceed $50, we will write to you and seek a deposit towards the anticipated charges. We will also suggest practical alternatives you could adopt in an effort to reduce the anticipated charges. If a deposit is sought, the 30 day timeframe permitted for processing your request commences upon payment of the deposit.
The Act allows Council to refuse access to certain documents or information. These documents are often called ‘exempt’ documents.
In some cases you may be refused access to an entire document. Alternatively, you may be given access to a document with exempt information deleted.
Here is a list of some documents that you may not be able to access:
- Some internal working documents.
- Law enforcement documents.
- Documents covered by legal professional privilege, such as legal advice.
- Documents containing personal information about other people.
- Documents containing information provided to an agency in confidence.
- Documents containing information provided to an agency by a business.
- Documents which are covered by secrecy provisions in other legislation.
Please do not let this deter you from asking for access as each document is assessed on its merits before a decision is made.
If you are not satisfied with our decision on access, you may within 28 days of receiving your determination letter, seek internal review by writing to the:
Freedom of Information Commissioner Office of the Freedom of Information Commissioner PO Box 24274 Melbourne Victoria 3001
This information is provided from Latrobe City Council web site and is for information purposes only. Although all care has been taken in the preparation and updating of the information no claim is made as to the accuracy or authenticity of the content. Latrobe City Council, its employees, agents, consultants and representatives do not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) which is provided or incorporated into it by reference. The information is provided on the basis that all persons undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance, accuracy and currency of the information. Fees and charges are subject to change without notice.